The idea of being perpetually tired is something that our society has normalized to the point that we often don’t even realize it’s not normal. Being tired all the time diminishes your quality of life, affects your relationships, and can even put your safety at risk.
For example, if you drive while you’re drowsy, you are at a greater risk of being in a car accident.
Other possible effects of being tired all the time or deeply fatigued include:
- Your central nervous system can be significantly impacted if you aren’t getting enough sleep or you’re fatigued because of other underlying issues. You may have a hard time learning new things, and your coordination can be decreased, which goes back to the point above, that you may be at more of a risk of being in an accident. You may have trouble with anything requiring creativity or decision-making.
- If you don’t get enough sleep, it can increase symptoms of underlying mental health conditions you may have. For example, being tired can worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Our immune systems are something we might be thinking about a lot right now since COVID-19 is still affecting everyone. If you’re tired all the time, your immune system is going to have a hard time fighting off bacteria and viruses. You’re also at a greater risk of developing chronic conditions including heart disease.
- If you’re overweight and having a hard time losing weight, it might be due to a lack of sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, it can throw off levels of certain hormones that control how hungry and full you feel.
- Your career could be suffering if you feel tired all the time. You may not feel motivated, or you could be under-performing, and then you might be losing out on potential opportunities.
Getting to the underlying cause of why you feel tired all the time is important because this can help you remedy the issue. The following are some of the more common reasons you could feel constantly fatigued.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Of course, the most obvious reason you might always feel tired could be a lack of sleep. There are so many reasons you might not get enough sleep.
You might want to stay up late watching TV or scrolling through social media, in which case, the remedy should be pretty simple.
There are also sleep-related disorders that could play a role. For example, insomnia, circadian rhythm disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea are all reasons you might not be sleeping enough.
If you’re concerned you could have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor about doing a sleep study.
If you don’t have an underlying disorder but simply aren’t getting enough sleep, there are changes you can make to your lifestyle.
For example, follow a schedule and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including on the weekends and holidays. Avoid using electronics right before you try to go to bed, and while you should exercise regularly, don’t do so too close to bedtime.
Avoid caffeine too close to bed, and don’t drink too much alcohol either.
What You Eat (or Don’t Eat)
Your diet and eating patterns play a huge role in your energy levels throughout the day. Even if you feel like you’re getting plenty of sleep, a poor diet or bad eating habits could mean you feel tired all the time.
You shouldn’t skip meals, first of all. If you skip meals or have big gaps between eating, it can lead to drops in your blood sugar, which means your energy levels will plummet.
When you do eat, choose nutrient-rich and protein-packed options so that you’re fueling your body and upping your energy levels in a sustainable way.
We already mentioned that being tired or not getting enough sleep can worsen psychiatric disorders, but the disorder itself may be undiagnosed and contributing to constant fatigue.
For example, depression is linked with an imbalance of brain neurotransmitters that is thought to play a role in fatigue. Certain mental health conditions can also impair your sleep patterns, further contributing to your fatigue.
If you have anxiety, you may actually be exhausted because of your pervasive worry. It can leave you feeling mentally and physically drained.
Seeing a mental health care professional and working on an appropriate treatment plan for a mental health condition can help alleviate your fatigue in many cases.
Vitamin or Nutrient Deficiencies
Being deficient in a vitamin or nutrient can cause ongoing fatigue.
Iron-deficiency anemia is a common reason for fatigue. Iron-deficiency anemia makes you tired because your body uses iron to make hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin is the part of your red blood cell responsible for transporting oxygen throughout your body. Without adequate iron, your blood can’t carry enough oxygen, and that can leave you feeling tired.
Other deficiencies frequently associated with fatigue and low energy levels are vitamin D, vitamin B12, potassium, and magnesium.
You shouldn’t supplement without having your doctor first check your levels of vitamins and nutrients. You don’t want to overdo it when you don’t need a supplement.
Being sedentary is something that affects many of us, and it’s difficult to overcome because spending much of our time sitting is just what modern life seems to be about.
We work from desks and computers, watch TV and devices for entertainment, and generally just don’t move around much.
When you are sedentary, you may feel more tired, and getting up and moving more throughout your day can help energize you.
There are many medical conditions that can cause fatigue. Examples include autoimmune disorders, thyroid disorders, and fibromyalgia.
If you are feeling like you’re always tired and have low energy, don’t assume it’s normal or you should just get over it. Talk to your doctor, and they can do a full exam to help you figure out what’s causing you to feel this way and hopefully remedy it.